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The Spell of Repetition: Shaking down the Pantoum

Free State Review

malay1Essay, by Meg Eden

Poetry’s closest link with its oral tradition is revealed through forms which are elastic as breath. The pantoum is composed of quatrains where the second and fourth lines of a stanza are repeated as the first and third lines in the stanza to follow. This pattern continues with no minimum or maximum number of stanzas. For the final stanza, the first and third lines of the beginning stanza are taken on as the second and fourth. This rounding creates a sense of balance in the pantoum, since every line is then used twice.

The pantoum started out as the pantun, a form of rhyming Malay folk song couplets, typically recited or sung. The Hikayat Hang Tuah and the Malay Annals document the pantun in early Malay literature. The connection between spoken Malay language which is “proverbial and sententious” and the pantun is something to behold…

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Welcome Meg Eden to our Staff


There are changes a brewing at Wherewithal, and all for the better.  This week we welcome Meg Eden to our staff and she is excited to read your submissions.  We are excited to have a poet we once published return to our fray in a new capacity.

Let’s welcome Meg by flooding our inbox with submissions for our long-awaited fourth issue.  there’s barely a week left so hurry!


Meg Eden’s work has been published in various magazines, including Rattle, Drunken Boat, Poet Lore, and Gargoyle. She teaches at the University of Maryland. She has four poetry chapbooks, and her novel “Post-High School Reality Quest” is forthcoming from California Coldblood, an imprint of Rare Bird Lit. Check out her work at:

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Dr. Craig’s 12-Step Program for White Poets Contemplating Ethnic Fraud

Craig Santos Perez

Are you a white poet writing mediocre poems that are constantly rejected? Do you feel cheated out of your entitled publications? Do you find yourself desperately reaching for an ethnic pseudonym?

If you answered yes, Dr. Craig’s 12-step program is designed to help you write like poets of color without committing ethnic fraud. This program is guaranteed or your privilege back!

Step 1: Read. You’ve probably spent most of your life reading white poets. Spend a year reading only poets of color. You will learn how ethnic writing is diverse and exceeds all stereotypes and expectations.

Step 2: Listen. A major thread of ethnic poetry is spoken word. Try listening to one poetry video every day. Hear our voices.

Step 3: Attend. If there is a poetry event in your town featuring poets of color, support the community and bring a dish just in case it’s a potluck.  

Step 4:…

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I’ve been getting some questions about my fundraiser: The money goes to Tupelo Press, but I get rewards based on what goals I reach.

Right now, I have raised $150.
If I raise $350, I will earn three Tupelo Press Titles of my choice.
If I raise $750 I will get a Chapbook length manuscript review (including in-depth focus, poem-by-poem, and evaluation of overall coherence and poem order) with Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Levine!

I would LOVE to get this manuscript evaluation–I have a manuscript that needs some work, and to get feedback from Jeffrey Levine would be AMAZING!

While I will be only posting poems for the rest of the month, I can continue to raise funds through September.

Thank you everyone who has donated! If you haven’t donated, I’d feel so encouraged to have your support! Every dollar proves that poetry is still alive and needed in our world today, and helps me (and the other 30/30 poets I’m sure!) that what we are doing is worthwhile!

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August Poetry Challenge

This month I’m proud to be part of Tupelo Press’s 30/30 poetry challenge! This means I’ll be writing a poem a day and it’ll be posted on Tupelo’s blog. Like a marathon runner, I need support to do this, so if you feel inclined to support this poetry journey (which also supports Tupelo Press–2 birds with one stone!!), you’re welcome to donate on the site below!
I’m also offering some of my own rewards for those who donate:
• $10: Give me a title or prompt for an upcoming poem. This can be an Ode, or a poem in honor of someone, or a quirky title, or anything, really!
• $20: A copy of a chapbook of your choice.
• $30: A comprehensive critique of one of your poems, which can include recommendations for publication options.
• $129: A chapbook-length manuscript review (up to 30 pgs)—and Tupelo Press will give you a subscription to their 2015 books (that’s 10 books!)
If you choose to donate, please make sure to mention Meg Eden in the comment!

To donate and check out the poems from all this month’s poets, visit:

Marlena Chertock

Constellation: Prosodus


Find us

When they find us
we’ll be long dead.
When they find us,
the chosen or rich frozen,
faces intact,
they’ll wonder why
we’re a people that don’t move.

They’ll find us,
the rest, deposits of calcium,
puzzles left for them
to try for a week.
When they find us
they’ll think maybe,
once, they saw one of us
out there in the dark,
dressed in a puffier

When they find rows
of gravestones
carved with strange language,
they’ll try forming the sounds
on their native tongues,
trace the hieroglyph t and star
and moon with their fingers.

When they enter a home
of bound language,
they’ll find it impossible to understand.
Wander the steps,
our voices silently surrounding them.
Wonder if they’ll ever find
live ones. Or will they
always be late.

Exhibit exploration

He caught me watching myself

in the golden astronaut helmet.


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Online Poetry Workshops on Sale


I have two new online courses on creative writing: one on how to make your submissions stand out, and the other on how to create a strong poetry chapbook manuscript. In August and September, I’ll also be teaching a Poetry I workshop, which will cover the essentials for making your poems stronger. 

For more information, check out my sites:

A Maryland poet of the new generation

Eastern Shore Writers Book Blog

meg edenmeg ryan beach

Meg Eden’s work has been published in various magazines, including Rattle, Drunken Boat, Eleven Eleven, and Rock & Sling. Her work received second place in the 2014 Ian MacMillan Fiction contest. Her collections include “Your Son” (The Florence Kahn Memorial Award), “Rotary Phones and Facebook” (Dancing Girl Press) and “The Girl Who Came Back” (Red Bird Chapbooks). She teaches at the University of Maryland. It’s not hard to read interviewers of Meg in social media. All enjoy her poetic brilliance.

A Week With Beijing Cover Proof 1

Her “about to be published” chapbook, A Week with Beijing, is filled with the same beautiful words as her other chapbooks. This passage gives a taste of her reflections when encountering the Chinese. You’ll agree it’s bound to win another literary prize.

“I said I wanted to hear
all about her -what she believes
in, where she goes for daily
fun, the names of her friends
and what they hope…

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A Week With Beijing by Meg Eden



A Week With Beijing by Meg Eden
Neon, A Literary Magazine, release date February 7, 2015
Reviewed by Kayla Greenwell

Meg Eden‘s A Week With Beijing, due out on February 7 from Neon, A Literary Magazine, is a refreshing collection of difficult truths and insightful discovery. In this 21 poem collection, the author charts her intimate experiences with Beijing, who she personifies as a quirky, mysterious woman. This extended personification creates a truly intimate experience for the reader.

Through embedding sharp truths in the soft vulnerability of the blossoming relationship between the narrator and Beijing, Eden creates a unique platform for dialogue. Beijing is equally unsure of her new counterpart, and  sometimes when she voices the events of her life it is almost as if she is as shocked as the narrator, hearing it for the first time. It creates a platform for discussion that the reader can’t…

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A virtual scavenger hunt – stop 1 – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s house

This is such a cool use of the Poetry Scavenger Hunt idea!

Illustrated Poetry

IMG_2961When friend and poet Meg Eden proposed people in different cities host a poetry scavenger hunt to celebrate the release of her new chapbook of poetry, A Week with Beijing, in January 2015, I jumped up and down and said “YES! That sounds fun.” So she sent me a packet of red envelopes and told me to have fun and go crazy. I’ve decided to combine two things I’ve been wanting to do for a while into one: do the scavenger hunt together with all of you on Illustrated Poetry and visit some of the many poetry-historical (it’s a word now!) sites in Boston. Boston and its environs are home to so many important places in regards to poetry; I really enjoy that aspect of living here.

Poetry is a living art – who writes it and what we write about is constantly evolving and yet we are all connected as poets. So…

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